Between 2000 and 2015, the American marketplace saw a total of 211 new and existing car models for sale in dealerships. That’s a lot of competition in an industry that relies on customers purchase new automobiles, on average, every 6.5 years. This being said, it’s quite a feat to dominate the automotive marketplace, so it’s worth taking a closer look at what makes the top 10 best vehicles so special.
The 10 best automobiles aren’t all fuel-efficient or technologically-advanced. They don’t all offer fantastic customer service. They don’t all appeal to a specific kind of consumer, break land speed records, or offer custom design options. In fact, the top 10 cars are really quite different from each other – but they have some key things in common.
Here are 5 key points that set these automobiles apart from hundreds of others on American roads:
1. They show a great deal of attention to the user experience.
From Mini Cooper’s 10 million custom configuration options to the Mazda Miata’s sporty handling that convinces drivers they can actually feel the road, all of the top 10 cars are extremely sensitive to the user experience. Manufacturers that direct their focus on the consumer as the top priority, rather than trying to reduce costs, speed production, or come up with some new industry-leading technology, found loyal customers sooner and continue to see sales today. Each of these exceptional vehicles were designed with the customers in mind, no matter what kind of person is likely to end up behind the wheel.
Which is a great segway into the next point…
2. They are well-suited to their specific audience.
Rather than trying to please everyone, these automobile manufacturers had a clear idea of exactly the kind of person that would be behind the wheel, and they tailored the experience just for that audience. For example, the Nissan Altima is a beloved automobile by parents everywhere for its combination of passenger space, storage capacity, and reliable safety features, while the Ford F-150 has had a loyal fanbase for years for its durability, towing ability, and an interior that can handle passengers or cargo equally. By focusing on a smaller, more specific demographic, automobile manufacturers were able to get better sales numbers. They were marketing to everyone but to the right people.
3. They stand the test of time.
Durability is key. Not just mechanically, the winning models endure physically, running better and for longer, and their idea endures as well. Think of the lore around the Ford Mustang Cobra and the Chevy Camaro. Even the Toyota Prius has remained popular long after it’s initial selling point, fuel efficiency has become largely irrelevant, thanks to the changing market.
What this means, really, is that great cars have long-term appeal. They don’t rely on fads or clever marketing to build up sales and loyalty. Instead, these vehicles are built to last, both on the road and in the heart of consumers. Part of that loyalty is because…
4. They are known for their reliability.
Look at reviews for all of the top 10 automotive winners and you’ll always see these two words: reliability and quality.
The two are permanently linked. Reliability is a product of having consistent quality and it’s absolutely vital for any kind of success. Performance of all of the top vehicles is predictable and that eventually builds a sense of integrity into the brand as consumers realize that they can trust those cars. After all, the Ford Crown Victoria was adopted by police forces for that exact reason.
5. They aren’t just a car. They also stand for an idea.
As mentioned earlier, the Prius has retained its popularity long after fuel efficiency has become an industry standard. Part of that success comes from the ideal that the Prius personifies: environmental consciousness.
The same can be said for the Honda CR-V, which embodies adventure with a side of practicality, the Tesla Model S, that appeals to those who love how technology can be sexy, and the Mustang Cobra, that sits at the apex of muscle car culture. Part of this is marketing but none of these manufacturers could have achieved these ideals without a grasp on all 5 of the characteristics listed here. They had to deliver a great experience to the right users, reliably and consistently in order to stand the test of time and embody the right ideal.
These lessons don’t just apply to the automotive industry, either. If you were to analyze the leading products and brands in other markets, you’d find these same traits there, too. How can you apply these 5 winning lessons to your own business?